Post-Rehab Conditioning: Getting back to form after injury or illness

For the people who visit our Grande Prairie gym injuries are one of the most frustrating experiences, whether they are sports related or happened at work or during another activity. The road to full recovery after an injury is often long. It starts with immediate care (which is often crucial for future potential for recovery) and continues with treatment and rehabilitation. The post-rehab conditioning phase starts when rehab ends, but the two processes overlap. Rehabilitation is the process of restoring or regaining full functioning of muscles and joints after injury or illness. In the post-rehab phase the emphasis is placed on continuing with the work started in rehab and building core strength, flexibility, and preventing further injury or stress.

Types of injuries and illnesses

The most obvious type of injury that lands people in treatment or rehab is that of abrupt fractures and tears. These are sometimes the result of poor technique, sometimes they are just bad luck. Examples of such injuries are bone fractures, torn ligaments such as a torn ACL or MCL, or pulled muscles. Another type of injury is that of inflammation or repetitive stress. These injuries are caused by wrong techniques or by overuse of certain muscles or other body parts. There are many examples of such injuries. Shin splints, tennis elbow, tendonitis, and many types of inflammation fall into this category. Finally there are injuries or illnesses that are not necessarily caused by the sport or activity in question, but that nonetheless have an impact and limit movement, fitness, and participation in the activities one would like to enjoy. Some examples of these are arthritis, some back issues, or conditions related to inflammation.

Where does post-rehab fit in

These aspects of conditioning have several goals in mind. They work to get people back to where they were before the injury happened. This can be a long process but it’s important not to skip any steps or hurry it too much. Another goal is to address issues that caused the injury in the first place. These can be bad techniques or poor initial conditioning. Finally, once a person is injured, there is often a chance of the injury recurring. Post-rehab addresses this by focusing on the strength and flexibility needed for prevention.

A post-rehab program typically contains the following components:

  • A safe and effective assessment of the client’s fitness, injuries, and other needs
  • The creation of specific goals for the program – what is the desired outcome of the program
  • The design of an exercise program that fits those goals while taking care not to overstress the body
  • The continuing monitoring of a client’s progress and, if necessary, communication with other professionals

A professional approach is crucial

Professional expertise is generally recommended in most areas of fitness and health, but in post-rehab it is absolutely crucial. There is a danger that people in the post-rehab phase will try to progress too quickly, or in with the wrong techniques or exercises. A professional who is trained in post-rehab techniques has detailed knowledge of the muscular and skeletal system. He or she is trained to determine which parts of the body are under stress, which are weak, and where the focus of the exercise should be.
Post-rehab conditioning is not only about building strength, but also about cardio capability and flexibility. These must all go hand in hand.
Perhaps just as important is that a person trained in post-rehab conditioning will know when it is time to consult a doctor or other medical professional. The musculoskeletal system is very complex and injuries add to this complexity. It is really very difficult, if not impossible, for the person who doesn’t have the proper training, to be able to condition him or herself properly. Injury is bad enough, but a recurring injuring due to improper conditioning is even worse.

A third aspect of post-rehab conditioning is that people who have experienced an injury or illness that warranted rehab are usually keen to get back to the level they were at before the injury. But getting there is really difficult without good advice. The body will not necessarily react in the same way and, what is more, it’s often a good thing to create a program that strengthens the body with the goal or preventing the injury from recurring. Sometimes the injury was due to improper technique and a part of post-rehab conditioning is relearning proper technique.

The role of the gym

Everyone thinks of a gym as a place people go to exercise, but, as we can see from this discussion about conditioning, it is can be thought of as an extension of the work done by medical professionals – work that has to do with your health. People don’t hesitate to ask medical professionals for help, it should be the same with post-rehab conditioning.

Contact us today to see how we can help you with your post-rehab needs in Grande Prairie